May 19, 2004

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Contact: Mary Jane Dunlap, University Relations, (785) 864-8853.

Gov. Sebelius to launch day 2 of KU whirlwind tour into 7 counties on May 24

LAWRENCE -- Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius will meet with 42 University of Kansas faculty and staff at 8 a.m. Monday, May 24, along the second-floor rotunda of the state Capitol as they begin day two of the 2004 Wheat State Whirlwind tour of Kansas.

Sponsored by KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway, the six-day tour will circle the state clockwise, introducing many faculty new to Kansas to their new home state and to fellow Kansans.

The second day of the tour will include a look at Kansas' role in the 1954 Brown v. Topeka Board of Education landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision, lunch on a cattle ranch in Lyon County, a tour of Sedan and Chautauqua County economic development and dinner in Winfield with invited guests.

After meeting with the governor, who is also a KU alumna, the faculty will ride the bus a few blocks to the Monroe School, 1515 S.E. Monroe. The recently dedicated National Historic Site honors the 1954 Brown v. Topeka Board of Education decision, which ruled racially segregated schools unconstitutional. In the 1950s, Monroe was one of four public elementary schools segregated for African-American children in Topeka.

At 8:45 a.m., LaTonya Miller, National Park Service public affairs specialist, and Deborah Dandridge, a KU archivist who is one of five Kansans on the national Brown v. Board of Education 50th Anniversary Commission, will meet the faculty and discuss the decision's impact in Kansas and the nation.

Kansas Board of Regents Chair Janice DeBauge and her husband, Paul, both of Emporia, will join the faculty at noon at the Highland Ranch in Lyon County. Scott Ritchie is president of Highland Ranch Co. and chairman of Ritchie Exploration Inc., a Wichita-based oil and gas exploration company that he founded in 1963. He and his wife, Carol, have invited the faculty for lunch and an expansive view of open range pastures that are prized in the beef industry as some of richest grazing lands in the world. The cattle industry has sustained the region's economy for more than 100 years.

Both Scott and Carol Ritchie are 1954 KU graduates. His degree is in geology; hers, in music education. They met as KU students and married within three weeks of their graduation. The Ritchies have three grown children; two are KU graduates.

About 95 miles south of Emporia, the bus will stop in Sedan, a southeast Kansas community undergoing major restorations with a goal of becoming a prairie tourist attraction in the Chautauqua Hills region. From 3:30 to 5 p.m. faculty will be able to explore Sedan, which includes a museum honoring the renowned hobo clown Emmett Kelly Sr. in his hometown and the official site of Laura Ingalls' book "Little House on the Prairie." One of Sedan's better known residents, TV newsman Bill Kurtis, is working with Sedan and Chautauqua County residents to promote the area as "an adventure on the American prairie."

From Sedan, the bus will head west to Winfield, where the faculty will gather with invited guests for dinner at 7 p.m. at Gallaway's Restaurant. Rated among the 100 best small towns in the United States, Winfield is home of Southwestern College and the annual Walnut Valley Festival and National Flatpicking Championship, renowned for attracting the best in bluegrass and acoustic musicians each September.

On Tuesday, May 25, the faculty will head west to Harper, Medicine Lodge, Mullinville, Meade and Liberal.

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